Pritzker's Joie de Vivre and Thompson Hotels merge businesses

Thompson Hotels is making more moves it looks like. On the cusp of their deal to take over management of South Beach's Hotel Victor, it was revealed early this morning that the hotel company, headed up by Jason Pomeranc and his partner Stephen Brandman, will merge its efforts with Pritzker family heir John Pritzker's Joie de Vivre Hospitality to form a new company, tentatively named JT Hospitality. The two will combines their hotel businesses into a single operator of boutique/lifestyle hotels (Joie de Vivre currently operates 33 hotels; Thompson 12), which stretch from east to west and internationally.

The Wall Street Journal reports that financial details were not disclosed, but each group will own a 50 percent stake in the venture and expect it will produce yearly revevue of around $500 million.

The merger looks to be a bold attempt to establish the company as the top player in the lifestyle segment. The move comes even in the face of global economic worries and skittish lenders. However, hotel industry metrics continue to be on the rise—according to Smith Travel Research, August RevPAR increased 7.2 percent from a year prior.

Pritzker and Pomeranc will act as co-chairmans of the company, while Thompson's Brandman will serve as chief executive. Joie de Vivre's interim CEO, Gary Beasley, has returned to an executive role with Pritzker's investment fund, Geolo Capital.

JT Hospitality will be a pure operator of hotels, though the Pomeranc family owns eight Thompson hotels. Pritzker's Geolo owns four Joie de Vivre hotels.

Pritzker, who bought a majority stake in Joie de Vivre last year, set up a $150 million fund at the time to acquire hotels to be converted to the Joie de Vivre brand. He'll now use that money to buy hotels for conversion to the Thompson brand, too.

The Wall Street Journal also reports that the company intends to eventually add resorts to the collection as well. "We believe this will redefine how people look at the lifestyle hotel industry," Pomeranc said.


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